From the Arkansas Statehouse...

Week in review.

In General Business on 6 March 2009 at 4:34 pm

Focus turned from the hard slog of lottery legislation to divisive cultural issues this week. The Senate State Agencies Committee declined to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by one vote. Sen. Bobby Glover said he voted against the measure because testimony did not convince him that women are discriminated against in Arkansas. By a wide margin, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will remove information about concealed-carry permittees from public access. Debate was greater over a measure that will put certain restrictions on teen drivers. Rural legislators were against rules that will limit how many teens can be in a car at one time.

A House vote went narrowly in favor of a bill that would penalize adults who serve teens alcohol on their property. In the Senate, a vote to require that a majority of Oil and Gas commissioners be experienced in the oil and gas industry sparked a fight. The disputed bill ultimately passed.

The House State Agencies Committee told participants in amateur combative sport that they have to be regulated by the State Athletic Commission. The same committee said it was not a good idea to tell the federal government to cease and desist from giving Arkansas unfunded mandates. The House Judiciary Committee told Sen. Denny Altes he cannot ban trial lawyers and chiropractors from using accident reports for solicitation purposes.

Rep. Steve Cole said revealing that someone suffers from a communicable disease is the same thing as outing a person with a concealed-weapon permit. Arguing against a new form of non-profit business structure, Rep. Jim Nickels said Arkansas should not be on the cutting edge. Rep. Monty Davenport made a joke about women drivers on the House floor.

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